Phase 2 of the Utah Olympic Park (UOP) Sliding Track Optimization Project is under way. This effort continues the track control modernization and automation efforts startedUtah Olympic Park Logo last year. The primary goal of Phase 2 is to ensure reliable optimal performance of the entire sliding track for the 2021/2022 season and ultimately building towards the 2030 Winter Olympics. The changes implemented in the first phase of the project have resulted in consistent temperature control and improved performance allowing the track continues to build on its reputation as “the Fastest Ice on Earth,” a moniker that originated during the 2002 Olympic Winter Gamers.[i]

* Video courtesy of Kole Nordman with Utah Olympic Park

ETC Group is a firm known for delivering innovative solutions to complex engineering problems. In Fall 2020, when track issues resulted in relocation of the World Cup bobsled race, ETC reached out to UOP to offer engineering assistance.

“We are glad UOP and the Utah Olympic Legacy Foundation leadership entrusted ETC Group to deliver a persistent solution to their recurring issues,” says Glen Anderson, ETC Group’s President. “They were willing to implement technologies and control strategies never-before-attempted for sliding tracks. These innovative solutions have already made UOP’s sliding track the most advanced globally.”

In Phase 1 of the Slide Track Optimization project, the focus was to upgrade the middle section of the track with a fully automated Refrigeration Controls System. In Phase 2, ETC Group will expand the efforts to encompass the entire 1.25-mile track. Phase 1 success was achieved through an expert team that worked together to identify and correct the root issues (UOP track team, UOP ammonia plant staff, Minus Nine, Harris Company, Skyline Electric, and ETC Group).

Harris Companies was responsible for control of the ammonia valves and other related slide track controls. Skyline Electric performed all the electrical for the project including wiring associated with the automatic ammonia valves and ammonia detection system. Minus Nine was responsible for all refrigeration piping and valve installation.

As we move into Phase 2, that group will build upon lessons learned in Phase 1 with the added benefit of trend data and analytics gained from the last season of operation. This will validate our approach and, if needed, modify the sequences of operation.

Once implemented, these solutions will make UOP Track one of the most sophisticated sliding tracks in the world.

  • Temperature and flow sensors will read at each evaporator along the entire track.
  • Increased monitoring and analytic capabilities will help maintain uniform “sweet-spot” track temperatures under varying climate conditions.
  • Data-driven track maintenance will utilize automated fault detection in place to catch issues before they degrade the quality of the ice.

Phase 2 is scheduled to be completed in preparation for the 2021/2022 season.

[i] https://www.deseret.com/2001/12/7/20631703/fastest-ice-on-earth